I had an interesting experience via eBay this week.
I’ve been selling novelty chewing gum on eBay. A guy from Russia contacted me to ask how much shipping would cost him if he won the auction. No problem. After the auction, he asked if he could send me extra money to buy some extra Australian gum to ship with the auction item. Except he didn’t want the gum, just the empty packets. It sounded weird to me, but it turns out he’s a gum collector.
So he sent me USD$30 via Western Union. I thought it was going to turn out to be a weird eBay scam, but I couldn’t see how collecting the money could cause me any trouble. So I took his reference number in to the post office, and sure enough, they gave me AUD$40.
On the way home from work, I stopped in at my local newsagent. I grabbed one packet of every type of gum they sell. “Having a party?” asked the newsagent. I hadn’t thought how strange this would look.
“No, they’re for a Russian gum collector,” I replied. I didn’t realise how bizarre that would sound until the words left my mouth. I could have just said, “Yes”. He looked at me, not sure if I was making fun of him or just a weirdo.
I explained how I’d met this Russian guy through the internet, and he collected gum, and wanted some Australian gum packets. The newsagent seemed reassured that I was just a harmless weirdo.
As I sat carefully unwrapping all the packets of gum, I realised what a great opportunity I had before me. When I was a kid, I would have killed to have one of every flavour of gum in the shop. Now I could live out that fantasy, and taste-test the lot.
So I sat unwrapping gum and tasting all the different flavours. Hubba Bubba Awesome Apple was by far the worst. Wrigley’s Big Red was the best. It took a while to unwrap it all, and I spent a few more hours on the computer, surfing the net and chewing gum. It’s a sinful joy to be able to spit out your gum as soon as the flavour has gone, and grab a fresh piece from the pile.
As I started packing the wrappers for postage, I read the back of one. I was interested to find out whether it was made in Australia or somewhere else. Under the list of ingredients was the text, “Warning: excessive consumption may have a laxative effect”.
Damn. Shouldn’t that be in large letters on the front of the packet?